As parents, we try not to feed our children anything that was not beneficial for them. Likewise, the same applies for toys. We want to buy toys which are educational; something that will benefit our children and will help them grow to their full potential. However, knowing each child is born with different capabilities and interests, there are many factors to keep in mind when purchasing toys for your child.

If a child is asked to pick out a toy of her preference she will naturally chose the most eye catching toy. But as a parent, when picking out toys for your child, you should consider what your aim is for that particular toy. Do you want the toy to teach your toy something specific, or do you want the toy to stimulate your child's imagination? It is not easy picking out the good toys from the bad, as there are many on the market. Keep in mind your child’s strengths, weaknesses and interests.

If you are feeling a little lost as to what type of toys to get your child, here are some of the questions you ought to keep in mind.

  1. Are you looking for an educational toy or one that encourage your child imagination? These are both legitimate but often a toy does not do both.
  2. Have you noticed any area that your child might need help in? If your child has difficulty recognising shapes, for example, playing with blocks and simple puzzles can help here.
  3. What are your child's strengths and how can the toy you are thinking of buying develop this strength?
  4. Is the toy labelled/fit for your child’s age? You don't want to buy something too advanced for your child as this will only frustrate her.
  5. Does the toy have a good review and reputation? Listen to what other parents say about the toy and do a little research into it's strengths.
  6. Is the toy well made? Toys made from wood are usually very hard wearing and will last longer than those made from plastic. Make sure there are no small parts if your child is very young.
  7. Is your child getting a balance of electronic toys as well as simple or traditional toys like lego and blocks? There is a place for electronic games, and they can help children's fine motor skills and coordination, but getting the balance right is important.

So, when purchasing toys the most important criteria to remember is to buy a collection of toys that will cater for many purposes. Keep in mind your child's personality and needs. Electronic or non-electronic, both toys carry it's own special purpose, and it is up to you as a parent to figure out what exactly your child’s needs are.